Is psychosis taking over the city?

Afraid of the city? It has been four days since two buildings collapsed in the center of Lille, causing the death of a 45-year-old man. Since then, the drama has been the main topic of all conversations in the capital of Flanders, even if nobody knows anything. Except that this lack of official information on the causes of the accident, linked to the secrecy of the judicial inquiry in progress, gives rise to a kind of psychosis which seems irrational at first sight, but which could also prove to be beneficial by the after.

While the influx of onlookers around the security perimeter protecting the scene of the disaster had calmed down, there was again a crowd on Tuesday evening, when several fire engines landed on rue Pierre-Mauroy. Perched on their ladder, two sappers were inspecting the facade of a building located a few meters from what remains of the collapsed buildings. “It took off like wildfire, a man said there was a crack in the facade and word of mouth quickly turned it into a building that is in danger of collapsing,” explains to 20 minutes an employee of the Carlton Hotel. And if the crack does exist, it may seem impressive, it does not date from yesterday. Intrigued, a former street trader wanted to know for sure: “Going back to the Google street view photos, you can easily see that this crack has existed at least since 2008,” he says. According to SDIS 59, contacted by 20 minutesa gauge indicator had already been placed to monitor its progress.

Health inspectors overwhelmed since the tragedy

The day of the accident and the next day, the firefighters were called on several times “by worried people”, said a spokesperson for the SDIS du Nord. However, since the accident, he has only counted two “clearance of doubts” in this context. One mentioned above, and another concerning the Toto fabric shop, earlier in the week. “Damaged gutters, cracks, and even pieces of wall falling, there are everywhere, just look up. Except that before the collapse, no one cared, ”recognizes a trader in the sector.

What about the Municipal Hygiene and Health Service – Unworthy Habitat, responsible for receiving and investigating unsanitary complaints filed by tenants? “He has literally been overwhelmed with calls since Saturday. There is a movement of concern similar to that which followed the collapse of a building in Fives, in 2014, which had cost the lives of two people, ”confirms Mélissa Menet, chief of staff of Martine Aubry. While the number of files processed each year usually exceeds a thousand, it should swell by as much: “Each report is taken seriously but, however, no new report has yet given rise to a danger order”, continues -she.

“The city is not collapsing”

Nevertheless, it is not yet the stampede in the shops, at least for some. At the Pot Beaujolais restaurant, close to the security perimeter, we regret a few cancellations of reservations from customers apprehensive of dining near the site of the incident. Opposite, at the Carlton hotel, this situation does not arise, “there is just curiosity on the part of regular customers”, confides to 20 minutes an employee at the reception. Curious customers, the Pareil au meme children’s shop also has them, especially since the forbidden perimeter stops right at its door: “They ask us questions, especially about our state of mind. They are not worried, and neither are we, if we have been allowed to reopen, it is because we are safe, ”said a saleswoman.

“If there is a message to convey, it is that the city is not collapsing but that we must remain vigilant,” insists the mayor’s chief of staff. Vigilance of tenants, residents and especially owners: “They must take their responsibilities and maintain their property, even if it means being accompanied by the city”, underlines Mélissa Menet, deploring that we are not interested in these questions only when a tragedy occurs.

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